The Nigeria Labour Congress has described erstwhile Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, as unfit for the ministry and should be given another portfolio if cleared by the Senate.
According to the Secretary of NLC, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, failure to heed labour’s call not to return Ngige to the ministry could fuel industrial crisis.
He said that the ex-minister, who is among the 43 nominees currently being screened by the Senate, lacked understanding of the workings of the ministry.
Recall that Ngige clashed with organised labour over the delay in constituting the board of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
“We think that government will be looking for problem if Ngige is returned to the Ministry of Labour and Productivity as minister because he does not understand how the place works and his own approach will create unnecessary industrial crisis.
“If government is properly advised, it should look for where to put him. Ngige is a square peg in a round hole in the ministry,” Ozo-Eson said.
However, Ngige’s personal assistant, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, said that his principal lacked powers to assign a ministry to himself and resolved all differences with organised labour leaders before the expiration of his appointment as labour minister.
“It is the responsibility of the President to appoint and assign portfolios to ministers. Ngige will willingly serve in whichever ministry the President so decides. Besides, he has no personal issue with labour. What happened at the end of the last term was a matter of steadfastness to the rule of law or otherwise. He chose the rule of law in respect of the appointment of the chairman of the board of the NSITF.
“Don’t forget that labour later saw reason with his action, forcing the (former) president of the TUC at the valedictory organised by the ministry on May 26, 2019 to apologise on behalf of labour while commending him for his unimpeachable labour administration style.”